Bach hails UN resolution as ‘historic milestone’
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach hailed a United Nations resolution on sports and politics Monday as a “historic milestone” that rejects the idea of political boycotts of the Olympics.
Bach welcomed the resolution adopted by consensus by the U.N. General Assembly that “supports the independence and autonomy of sport as well as the mission of the IOC in leading the Olympic Movement.”
The resolution states that “major international sports events should be organized in the spirit of peace, mutual understanding, friendship, tolerance and inadmissibility of discrimination of any kind and that the unifying and conciliative nature of such events should be respected.”
The IOC said the wording “clearly implies” that full participation at sports events is encouraged and “boycotts are incompatible with this U.N. request for respect of the values of sport.”
The United States led a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Soviets retaliated by boycotting the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Some politicians and activists called for a boycott of February’s Winter Games in Sochi over a Russian law that outlawed so-called gay “propaganda.”
“We highly welcome this resolution as a historic milestone in the relations between sport and politics,” Bach said in a statement. “We must form partnerships with political organizations based on this recognition of the autonomy of sport.”
The U.N. also recognized the Olympic Charter and Principle 6, the clause on non-discrimination.
“As a sports organization, the IOC does not, however, have a mandate to impose measures on sovereign states outside its own fields,” the IOC said. “The Olympic Games can show the world and the host country that a peaceful society is possible.”
The IOC has enjoyed U.N. observer status since 2009. Bach spoke to the General Assembly in New York in November 2013.
Bach sent a letter to all 205 national Olympic committees urging them to work with their national political leaders to strengthen the autonomy of their sports bodies. In recent years, the IOC has suspended several national committees because of political interference.
“This relationship with governments requires that sport always remains politically neutral,” Bach said.